I am currently laying out a book (poetry). There are a few images to be placed at various points throughout the text. Most of these are portrait orientation. For various reasons it is necessary for each image to appear alone on its own page without any other element.

Is it acceptable to lay these images out vertically (taking up a full page for each one) so that the reader has to turn the book 90 degrees to view them? If I don't do this and lay them out in their natural orientation I am worried that a) they will be too small, and b) they will look a bit lost with too much white space above and below them.

  • I guess you should ask the author or publisher?
    – Luciano
    Dec 8, 2016 at 12:40
  • I am the publisher. That's why I'm asking. The Author isn't keen, I think mine is the right solution, and I would like to be sure of my ground before having the discussion.
    – Rasbob
    Dec 8, 2016 at 17:17
  • What I meant is that the decision is then yours or the author's, whoever has the final word. The answer is subjective, I don't know what's your book about, for what demographics, etc, to decide what's OK and what's not. From a designer's point of view, it depends.
    – Luciano
    Dec 9, 2016 at 9:27

1 Answer 1


While changing orientation isn't unheard of (indeed, sometimes it can be used to striking affect), it's worth pointing out the full range of options available to you, obvious though they may be:

  1. Crop the image to a portrait format.
  2. Insert it as a landscape image despite the white space: too much white space is rarely an issue in an aesthetic sense.
  3. Insert the image across a double page spread.
  4. Change the orientation of the whole book: a pain if you've already started setting it out, but if you have a lot of landscape images it is something to consider.
  5. Change the orientation of that one image: as you've already mentioned.
  6. Add a gatefold page: an expensive solution, but a solution nonetheless. This does open up the possibility of different stocks, which is always interesting.

Are any of these options acceptable? That's really between you, the author and the end client.

  • Thanks for this. 1,3,4 and 6 aren't acceptable unfortunately. It's a toss up between 2 and 5....
    – Rasbob
    Dec 8, 2016 at 17:19
  • Very nice answer!. As an user, not as a designer, I would prefer Number 1, over 5. I would reserve 5 only for a diagram, not for a photo.
    – Rafael
    Dec 8, 2016 at 21:42
  • Add @Rafael Thanks. I'd say it all depends on the brief, the subject matter and the image itself, which is pretty much my go-to answer for pretty much every design-related question. :p
    – Dre
    Dec 8, 2016 at 23:32
  • I came up with a similar problem for procedures in a portrait binder, where abbreviated procedures infographics are in landscape 8.5 x 11, and detailed procedures are in portrait orientation (same size). I opted for the landscape graphic text top to be closer to the spine or binder rings. User opens binder to page, rotates it 90 degrees clockwise, folds remaining pages behind and lays it flat on a clean surface for open discussion with one or two people in their team. Apr 10, 2021 at 0:55

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